The other day, I found myself watching a movie where the main character became very emotional over a lack of family recognition for his achievements. It made me think about myself and my moments of glory.
From a child’s perspective, the feeling of being accepted or admired is one of the most important things, and is vital in helping them to grow up with proper self-esteem. Even if the kid isn’t perfect, and if his or her performance is actually quite poor, acknowledgement of their hard work is crucial. Now that I’m big enough to understand and put some order in my life and experiences, I realize that I didn’t have the best role models.
From the very beginning, I tested myself in many different fields, even if they weren’t for me. I tried to be valuable, to be good at something, especially since I was the youngest in my family. I felt less sporty, less smart, and less popular than my siblings, so the pressure was huge. Words like, “Well, your sister could do it…” became a regular part of my childhood.
Under these circumstances, it’s only natural for a child to want to be admired for something. My family, though, always tried to protect me from being rejected by my peers due to my failures. They never believed I was capable of achieving something, so they preferred to not allow me to even try.
When I was around 10 years old, I wanted so badly to take part in a mathematic contest. Of course, it was not the easiest one and I would need some adult help studying to cover all of the requirements. My family, though, after a quick review of my abilities, convinced me that it was a bad idea. It took them about an hour to explain that I wasn’t smart enough to join the contest, even though my teacher had said I could. They told me that my classmates would laugh at me. I have to admit, it was a painful experience, and I think it left a mark on my life and put me on a very difficult road of always underestimating myself.
That’s just one of many similar stories. I understand how difficult it can be to have the courage to dream of reaching the top when nobody else believes in you. I understand the feel of a never-ending need to prove yourself slowly burning you from the inside out. But honestly, I don’t blame my family for it. Even though it was wrong, it was the only thing they knew to do.
Going back to my original point about having family support during important moments, I didn’t really experience that, either. Even on my most triumphant days, such as high school graduation where I received numerous academic awards, they weren’t around. The same happened when I received a prize from the mayor for achievement on the national level. Even when I finally found my sport and won international shooting championships, none of my relatives were there. I know that they were proud of me, and I hope they still are, but they simply don’t believe in a better life nor better achievements than their own.
So what I wanted to share with you today is… you don’t need a crowd to be happy and proud of yourself. It’s important to have a loving and supporting family, but you can be whoever you want to be, even if your family is far from encouraging. The most important thing is to never give up on your own dreams. Always work hard and go for it, and don’t even dare worry about the people who don’t believe in you!
photo by Katarina Wolnik-Vera
Great thanks to Ellielove for proofreading